This course is the entry point for Bob Goldberg's Teaching Program and is incorporated into the General Education Curriculum of the UCLA College Honors Collegium. HC70A is designed to provide non-science majors and entering life science students with a foundation in molecular biology and genetics as it applies to genetic engineering, and addresses the social, legal, and ethical issues that arise from emerging new genetic technologies in medicine, agriculture, and law. A major goal of this class is to put genetic engineering into a scientific, historic, and social perspective so that students can make objective decisions about how this technology should be used in the future. HC70A is highly interactive, team-oriented, problem-based, and teaches students how to think critically about experimental science and the societal issues raised by advances in genetic engineering, genomics, and human reproduction. HC70A is organized into four parts: (1) an interactive, media-oriented lecture section that includes hands-on "experiments" and demonstrations (2) an undergraduate seminar that focuses on Scientific American articles and is taught by undergraduate teaching fellows, (3) an all-class film and guest-speaker section that brings real-life societal issues into the classroom, and (4) a weekly class reception that allows students to interact in an informal setting with Bob Goldberg and discuss science, educational issues, what it is like to be a professor, and other topics that arise spontaneously in this more informal setting.
HC70A, which is enabled through NSF support, reaches students from all majors, on all possible career paths. For example, freshmen debate seniors, entering life science students help non-science students, and classics majors exchange ideas with future biochemistry majors. A unique collective exists in which students representing the ideas, views, and backgrounds of a cross section of the UCLA campus come together to learn and discuss issues related to the impact of genetic engineering and genomics on society. During the past 18 years, 719 students took HC70A, representing 25 different majors. Women outnumbered men. More than 50% of the students were non-science students, and 27% were life science students who had declared a major but were just beginning the core curriculum required of all life science students at UCLA. In addition, there was almost an even distribution among first, second, third, and fourth year students (freshmen are represented at slightly lower levels). The pie charts shown on this page summarize the HC70A student population over the past 18 years.
The lecture section is fast-paced, media oriented, highly interactive, and makes extensive use of group learning to teach students how to problem solve and think critically about how major scientific discoveries are made. A variety of unique methods and approaches are used to teach students how to think critically about the questions addressed in lecture.
Bringing Science to Life in the Classroom
The most rewarding aspects of being a scientist is experiencing the excitement that comes from seeing something "new" for the first time. This is what is most often left out of the traditional classroom education. HC70A in-class demonstrations and hands-on "mini-experiments" are used in HC70A and allow students to take part in a real scientific process, bringing science and the excitement of discovery into the classroom.
Group Oral Exams
The group oral exams teaches students how to speak in public and think on their feet. Exam questions utilizes an integrative approach that emphasizes experiments, problem-solving, and connections between different subjects. The oral exam consists of groups answering questions as well as challenging other groups with questions. This format fosters student/student exchanges that challenges students to become "their own teachers".
Using Multimedia to Enhance Class Lectures
HC70A makes extensive use of state-of-the art audio-visual equipment and handouts and so that students can listen in class, interact, and
participate in discussions, rather than passively receiving information. Videoconferencing software allows other participating campuses to join
in as well, and handouts of all notes and figures are scanned, digitized into a PDF-formatted file, and uploaded on the class web site for
Click here to view and download class handouts of Winter 2020.
Lectures are digitally streamed on the class web site and can be accessed 24 hours a day. Lectures are recorded by the Bruincast office, and both Dr. Goldberg and the student use microphones to provide good quality audio. Lectures recorded by Bruincast are also streamed via laptop to distance learners at places like Tuskegee University, allowing real-time participation in the course. The Bruincast office produces videos of every class session that are posted on the class website. Lectures are viewable within an hour after the class has ended.
Using Guest Speakers and Films as a Focal Point for All-Class Discussions on the Relationship Between Science and Society
Dr. Michele Evans Answering Student Questions About In-Vitro Fertilization and Genetic Testing
Guest speakers and films are used to highlight the impact of genetic engineering on society. Films include documentaries produced by Nova, Nightline, and the Discovery Channel, as well as full-length feature films made in Hollywood. Documentaries deal with issues as diverse as the discovery of DNA as the genetic material, how genetic engineering was invented, pre-implantation genetic testing, use of DNA to solve crimes, history of agriculture, the GMO controversy, and bioweapons, among others. Feature films provide life-like enactments and fictionalized stories dealing with how society uses emerging new genetic technology. These include the discovery of the DNA helix, how families are affected by genetic diseases, the consequences of selecting for "perfect" humans, and the potential cultural clash between science and religion, among others. Guest speakers bring their personal life experiences into the classroom and include the CEO of a biotech company, the head of the Los Angeles DNA testing lab, a reproductive endocrinologist who uses in vitro fertilization to "make babies," and a bioethicist who thinks about genetic engineering, cloning, and the future of humanity.
Dr. Daisy Robinton, Ph.D., Science Communicator
Dr. John Novembre, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA
Dr. Russell Korobkin, J.D., Professor, School of Law, UCLA
Dr. Susan Sarajari, M.D., Ph.D. Ob/Gyn and Reproductive Endocrinologist, Pacific Fertility Center
Dr. Richard Hamilton, Ph.D. President and CEO, Prosper eDNA Calabasas, CA
Dr. Alan McHughen, D. Phil. Department of Plant Sciences, University of California, Riverside
Officer Harry Klann, Criminologist, Criminologist (Retired) Los Angeles Police Department
Dr. Michele Evans, M.D. Ob/Gyn, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Pacific Fertility Center
Dr. Channapatna Prakash, Ph.D., Professor, Plant Molecular Genetics and Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Tuskegee University
Dr. Pei Yun Lee, Ph.D., Dept. of Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology, UCLA
Ms. Emily Anthes, Science Journalist and Author
Dr. Bob Wayne, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA
Weekly Class Receptions to Promote Interactions Between Bob Goldberg, Guest Speakers, and Students
Bob Goldberg provides receptions for students each week throughout the quarter. These gatherings provide an opportunity for student-professor and student-student interactions in an informal setting. Guest speakers are also included if one is scheduled for the week. Class receptions allow students to discuss a range of issues: future goals, science and society, science politics, local and national politics, and what its like to be a professor, among others things.
HC70A students speaking with a guest speaker during a reception after lecture